Another story? I don’t mind if I do. This one takes place in 2002ish.. I was 22..ish
I’d been working at a tobacco shop for about three months; I’d started back to college and was taking intro to psychology and a few other courses. I was thoroughly engrossed In the psych class, and would even read my text book at work, just because it interested me.
The day was Wednesday and I was doing just that, reading whatever chapter we were on. As I highlighted a particularly interesting passage, I heard the ding of the alarm on the door. I put the book away and looked up smiling at the man who’d walked in.
There was something oddly familiar about this guy, it wasn’t his hair, and it sure wasn’t his “I bought this at Walmart” clothes. When he walked right up to the counter with his carton of Super Off Brand cigarettes, I was still trying to figure out if I knew him, or if he just reminded me of someone else.
“Hey” He said, smiling this toothy goofy grin that seemed to go on for days.
In fact the whole time I was checking his purchase out, he was checking me out. I noticed. A lot.
“So, Your Madison right?”
“Uh… yea, how’d you know?” You could be blind and still read the look of anxiety that passed across my face. At this point I’d barely dated, much less had a guy blatantly seemed to hit on me.
“I’m Terry, we went to school together. Well we did, I was a year older than you, we were in band together. At least until my senior year… I dropped out and got my GED, started my own business. I worked on computers.”
I’m going to have to interject on the communication to say this bothered me more than a little bit. He dropped out of highschool? To work on computers? I guess at least he had his own job right?
“Oh, ok, yea I kinda remember you. You played trumpet right?” He smiled that big toothy smile again. He had a great smile. It even shone through the goatee he was sporting at the time.
“Cool.” He paid and he stood there awkwardly. “So, I uh, I’d stick around and chat for awhile, catch up and all, but I have a fish in my car.” He had a fish in his car, a fish?!?
“Oh, ok. Have a great night!” I smiled my bubbly smile, and waved as he left. I thought it was a strange occurrence, but I shrugged it off as mildly interesting, before pulling my book back out to read until the after dinner rush, or just some random customer.
15 minutes passed, and the phone rang. “Hi Maddy.”
My pulse quickened, and fear coursed through me. I lived in a tiny town where crime was small and nearly unheard of (unless you went down to the crossroads). I think most towns have that area. The other side of the tracks so to speak.
“Hi?” The voice was not familiar to me, at least not over the phone. I was starting to worry that I’d have to move to Alaska, or Canada. I’ve always had a bit of an imagination.
“Hope I’m not going to get you in trouble but it’s Terry, with the fish?”
“Oh.. oh. Hi!” I was blushing now, I was not to have personal calls at work, and this was the guy that just had me being all kinds of awkward earlier.
“So I was thinking, if you weren’t doing anything Friday, maybe we could go out to a movie or something? Maybe just get a nice dinner?” I.. err. What? My brain went to mush, was he actually asking me out?
“I.. err.. Mind if we talk a bit first?” I was ever cautious.
“Sure. How about you call me back when you get off?” He gave me his number, and in a moment of sheer brilliance I changed the game.
“Actually I get off at 8, why don’t you call me around 9pm tonight?” Gave him my number instead. “I can’t actually talk right now.” With that I hung up the phone. I started closing the store down, and by 815 I was at home.
9pm on the dot and the phone rang. The boy was punctual. We had a great conversation in which he explained that the fish he had was expensive, and was an excellent addition to his collection. I would later learn that it was a 3lb Koi. By the end of the conversation I’d accepted his date request.
Friday came and went in a blur and by the time I knew it, I was to meet him at his house for the date. I rang the door on what I thought was a near mansion style home. In truth it was a new model 4 bedroom brick home, it was expensive, but a mansion it was not.
I walked up to the front door, and rang the bell. He rushed out to greet me, and ushered me inside. We walked inside and for the first few minutes I thought he must be doing well for himself. Then I met his mom.
During our three hour conversation the other night, I had learned that he had moved back home and went back to school for a degree in psychology. I had originally though that meant to our home town, but now I realized it meant to his moms. He pushed me into the kitchen so he could take his medication. I still have no idea what medication he was taking, but once he was done with that he asked for a hug.
I thought it was nice, it was sweet and WHAT THE BLUE BLAZES?!? He was kissing me. On a scale of disgusting to HolyShitMyPantsAreOnFire it was somewhere closer to disgusting. I stood there staring at him with the dumbest look on my face. Then my mouth came too before my brain.
“What the hell was that?”
“Oh I like to get the first kiss out of the way early, that we can concentrate on just having a good time, with no worry about the kiss at the end.” I think I managed a nod, and we left his house.
He drove a beat up Lincoln Town Car. We talked on our way to what I presumed was the theater, for the movie we’d planned to see, as his shenanigans and my zombie walk around the house with him proved to make the movie a late affair. The conversation was free, and I was almost enjoying myself, but one thing was bugging me.
He wouldn’t let me open my car door. I thought there was something wrong with it until I questioned it.
“No, I just like to open your door for you.” Ok so gag me. He pulled the chivalrous card, but after the early kiss it seemed faked and forced.
He even ran around the car when we pulled into the Perkin’s parking lot. He had taken me 45 minutes out of town, for PERKINS. Now don’t get me wrong, there are days where I miss my favorite dish from there, but it was not really a ‘date’ restaurant. Maybe ‘after a movie’ would work, but not a ‘this is it, this is the date’.
We sat down to dinner, and ate the conversation was still flowing quite well, but the more of his stories I heard the less I wanted to be around him. By the time we got back in the car I was fretting. No screw that I was freaking OUT. Between pulling out my chair, opening the car door, he was doing everything a proper date should do. That kiss was just bothering me so much.
I grew quiet about halfway home, and he tried to deftly stall the car by changing the radio station and shifting into neutral. I called him on it.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with my car. I just had it serviced. I guess if I turn it off for a few minutes maybe it would possibly, start up and go again?” He turned the engine off and put it park.
“I suggest you put the car back in drive, and get me home.” I gave him a glare that could have cut Superman to shreds.
“I don’t think it will-“
“Look I saw you put it in neutral. Turn the car on and take. Me. Home.” At this point I have curled myself against the door as far away from him as I possibly can. I don’t know why I felt so prudish, but I was not hooking up on a dark road at 10pm.
He sighed, and put the car in drive, and off we drove. I think he might have put his foot to the floor, his hopes dashed, because we made it the rest of the way in record time. Back at his house he stood outside his car and kept asking me inside. I refused. He would hem-haw around for ten minutes, before I finally made my exit.
Once home I had the normal “how was its” from the normal family members and friends. I remember telling my Aunt “I don’t think I’ll see him again.”
I should have listened to myself…
But that’s a story for another day.